I Hate My [expletive deleted] Fantasy Team: Wasting your time at the trade deadline

Sean Leahy

(Ed. Note: "I Hate My [expletive deleted] Fantasy Team!" is a weekly feature on Puck Daddy in which we vicariously live through two Yahoo! Fantasy Hockey GMs as they provide snarky advice and tales of woe. This week's author is Hextall454 from Melt Your Face Off. Enjoy.)

by Hextall454

Note: I am writing this from the eleventh green of the It Appears I've Missed the Playoffs Country Club. Man, the weather's beautiful. (So this is why the Kings suck every year. Not a cloud in the sky.)

So in what may have been a foregone conclusion two months ago, I've missed the FHL Playoffs, denying my team the ability to hoist Lord Manderville's Cup in 2009. (Which is a real shame - it's a very shiny cup.) Call it bad luck, call it too many Florida Panthers, call it what it actually was (a lack of time commitment to manage my team daily during December); I'm on the outside looking in.

With an NHL team in danger of hitting the links in the postseason, the NHL allows for some semblance of franchise resurrection with the trade deadline. Since I last wrote, the deadline has come and gone, changing the fortunes of many a player and conditional future draft pick to be named later. In fantasy, there is also a trade deadline, but it hardly warrants any real attention. Even 1% of the resources that TSN allocates to the real thing would be too much for an FHL trade deadline. Why? Because in a standard fantasy hockey league, the stakes are completely different.

In the NHL, every team has a vested interest in improving their future. Whether it be Bill "The Jersey Collector" Guerin giving you veteran leadership or Derek Morris giving you an inflated sense of blue line stability (and Saved by the Bell jokes!), half the teams in the NHL think that a move could get them closer to the Cup.

The other half of the NHL decides that this year is more of a lost cause than Sean Avery passing a Social Etiquette Course. They take current assets and sell them for prospects, in hopes that the sun will shine brighter in 2010. Good for them. We wish you the best in trying to convince the people of Phoenix to buy meaningless stretch run tickets instead of enjoying the last non-scorching month of the year.

In a fantasy league, the frenzy doesn't happen because no one wants to feed it. And the reasons that it starves are many:

*There's always another way - Sadly, there isn't a meandering horde of pro-level talent roaming the country staring at their cell phones, hoping to get a call from a general manager. Not only would this destroy the AHL, it's not a great idea to wander while wearing hockey skates. Unless your fantasy league is 30 teams deep, there's talent to be had in the free agent pool. And what's more - you only have to give up your worst player! (It's far more difficult to convince a rival of the fantasy upside of Mike Komisarek, no?)

*Why bother? - Trades in fantasy are meant to be made at the beginning of the season, once you've realized your draft strategy was an epic fail. You can use long-term injuries of first-liners as bargaining chips and take chances on slow starters. There's good strategy here, and it often pays off. But with mere weeks remaining, how much can be accomplished? Either you're in the playoffs and can enjoy a month of coasting without breaking up your team or you're in the cellar coasting towards failure and trying to decide how high to draft Carlos Beltran and Dustin Pedroia next month.

*But Everybody's Fired! - Even in a keeper league, only a few of your players will wear your sweater next year, so there's no building aspect to the game. Granted, there's the occasional trade where you may take an injured commodity (DiPietro?) for all your remaining talent, but does it help that much in the long run? (No.) In theory, your keepers should by guys taken in the top rounds of next year's draft - and honestly, what playoff team is willing to part with a Zetterberg or Carter now?

As for me, my season's not over. As Commissioner, I've got plenty of administrative duties to handle, so you haven't heard the last from me. But for now, I've got to go and convince my caddy if he'd like to make some extra cash as the official white-gloved handler of Lord Manderville's Cup.